A Game Of War
Odin Prevents A Catastrophe !
The Lord of Asgard took a moment to look angrily back at the mountains behind him. He then shook his head from side to side as he whispered to himself :
" You should have been a warrior king my dear, for you have formulated a brilliant strategy here ! " Odin said to the mountains as if they were his wife.
After taking a long deep breath the All-Father, in the form of the sleeping Hjalmberi, turned his attention back to the disaster that was unfolding before him. Odin slid off of Sleipnir, and commanded his great steed to return to Asgard. Then, with a determination that humans can only barely imagine, he drew his sword and began to run down the hill screaming like a mad berserker. As he approached the rear of King Lifsteinn's line his fury reached such a level that his eye began to glow like the coals of a stoked furnace.
Hjalmberi crashed through Lifsteinn's men as if they were children in the way of an adult. When he reached Sigvaldr's overburdened shield wall he was quickly confronted by two enemy warriors ready to cut him down. With his left hand he reached down to his belt and pulled out a perfectly balanced throwing axe. In one practiced, and very fluid motion, he flipped the head of the axe in the air, caught it by the handle on the way down, and threw it at one of Sigvaldr's warriors who was blocking his way.
The spinning axe hit the warrior in the head with such force that it cut through his helmet and penetrated all the way to the back of his skull. Before the man with the cleaved head could hit the ground, Hjalmberi swung his sword at the second defender. The warrior was much quicker than he expected, and he was able to raise his shield in time to try and block the blow. Unfortunately for this brave fighter he was pitted up against a God in combat, and not a mere human. The God -sword cut through the shield like a knife through butter, and the warrior's decapitated head hit the ground at the same time as Hjalmberi - Odin's first victim.
With his blood lust up the God in human form reached down for his axe, which had magically returned to him, and threw it once again with deadly accuracy. He then dispatched three more of Sigvaldr's men with his sword by spinning his body around like a whirlwind. The first man lost his head. The second was disemboweled, while the third had both of his legs cut off just above the knees. When the last warrior collapsed onto the ground in a heap, he began to scream in a high pitched tone. Only when he bled out did he become silent. Hjalmberi, unmoved by his pitiful screams, quickly stepped forward to meet his next challenger. There was, however, little challenge in fighting humans for someone as skilled as Odin in warfare, and he fell as quickly as all the rest.
Ignoring their own commander, Lifsteinn's men began to pour into the gap that was being opened up by the berserker who the enemy seemingly could not stop. While the right of the Heidmork army, led by King Lifsteinn, made little or no progress against the Heinafylki shield wall, the left flank quickly pushed the enemy back thirty of forty yards, putting them into the muddy marsh once again.
Realizing that his right flank was collapsing Sigvaldr ordered his left flank to begin a slow retreat so as not to allow the enemy to get behind him. Personally taking charge, the king ran up and down the line directing his warriors to carefully back away from the enemy without totally disengaging from them. If a man did not hear, or obey him, Sigvaldr grabbed the warrior by the back of the neck and flung him to the rear.
" Move back and guard our rear, or we will all die ! " he screamed above the din of battle.
The maneuver was working fairly well until King Sigvaldr was hit by a spear, which caught him just below his ribs. As he fell to his knees warriors from up and down the line rallied around their commander to protect him, while others grabbed hold of their king to try and and carry him to the rear. This rash of loyalty only served to open up more gaps in the line which allowed Lifsteinn's warriors to force their way through the left flank of the Heinafylki shield wall as well.
King Sigvaldr died long before his men could carry him to safety. By the time they returned to the fighting it was fairly obvious that the battle had turned against them. The shield wall, which had once held out such hope for the Heinafylki army, had now crumbled under the weight of the enemy, and the battle had become nothing more than a fierce struggle for survival for any of Sigvaldr's warriors brave enough to remain. With a good part of their army still bogged down in the marsh, those who had tried to hold up the enemy for their comrades sake now died in vain.
It is in moments like these that a man's true worth is judged. A few turned back and ran into the marsh, but most resigned themselves to their fate, and fought bravely to the end.
Odin - Hjalmberi smiled as he watched them die.
" Most of my children have learned well the lessons I have taught them. It is better to die honorably facing the enemy, than to be killed with an arrow in your back like a coward ! I will have many to choose from when this battle is ended ! " he whispered to himself.
When it was clear that the battle had been won, Odin - Hjalmberi slowly removed himself from the battlefield, and returned to where he had left the human whose identity he had stolen. Without delay he dragged the real Hjalmberi back to the marsh and dropped him near the water's edge. While the fool Lifsteinn and his warriors were preoccupied with chasing down the last remnants of King Sigvaldr's shattered army through the marsh, Odin began to revive the human Hjalmberi. Before he could become fully conscious, however, the Lord of Asgard whacked him on the head with the hilt of his sword. As the chieftain of Skaun sank back into darkness Odin could not help but grin.
" The sleeping hero ! " he whispered sarcastically to the human.
Odin then rose up and gazed back at the badly depleted Heidmork army that was now scattered throughout the marsh. As he shook his head in disgust he turned and looked back at the mountains.
" There is nothing more I can do here ! You have won our first match my dear ! " he told the mountain location where he knew that his wife had already brought the other half of the Heinafylki army safely through the pass.
Then Odin grinned.
" But the game is not yet over my love ! "
- End Chapter 7
Next : Chapter 8 : " Avenge Thy Father ! "
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ) , © Copyright, 2018.